The nation has recorded 93 deaths in the past 24 hours, which is the highest number of daily deaths ever recorded, exceeding the previous daily high of 84 recorded on April 15 during the first wave.
The figure will include some people who passed away over the festive period and whose deaths were not registered due to public holidays, when the relevant offices were closed.
But Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch said it was still a “hugely significant number” and warned the situation “is going to get worse” over the next few weeks.
The data also confirmed that 1,530 people are currently in hospital with Covid-19, more than at any other point since the pandemic first took hold last March.
Nicola Sturgeon described the number of daily deaths as “distressingly high” and warned they would remain so until overall case numbers started to decline again.
The numbers were confirmed as Scotland recorded a total number of 2,309 new cases in the past 24 hours. A total of 220 of those cases were recorded in the Lothians.
The 1,530 people in hospital having tested positive for the virus is an increase of 63 from Thursday’s figure.
This means that Scotland has now exceeded the peak seen in April last year, when Scotland had 1,520 coronavirus patients in hospital at any one time.
Of the cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, 692 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 220 cases were recorded in the Lothians, 390 in Lanarkshire and 192 cases were recorded in Grampian.
All of the remaining cases were recorded across ten other health board areas.
To date, 102 people are being treated in intensive care with recently confirmed Covid-19, which is two more than the figure reported on Thursday.
Since the start of the outbreak, a total of 146,024 people in Scotland have tested positive for coronavirus.
With today’s additional 93 deaths, the total death toll in the country is 4,872.
Ms Sturgeon said the 93 deaths would “undoubtedly include some people who died over the Christmas and New Year period” due to delays in registration because of the bank holidays.
But she said: “We do know that even when case numbers start to reduce … because of the incubation period, we still see an increasing number of hospitalisations and deaths.
“So from the case numbers we’re seeing right now, we are unfortunately going to see a significant number of people needing hospital and intensive care treatment in the weeks to come, and unfortunately a number of people dying from that.”
Prof Leitch described the death toll as “an astonishingly difficult number to both read out and to comprehend”.
He said: “I’m afraid the First Minister is right – it is going to get worse over the next little while potentially before it gets better.
“[A total of] 2,300 cases today, 2,300 cases odd tomorrow, in ten days’ time that will be hospitalisations, in two to three weeks’ time that will unfortunately show in the mortality figures.”